No, Ukraine aid wasn’t laundered by FTX and sent to Dems
The claim: U.S. aid to Ukraine was laundered by cryptocurrency exchange FTX and sent to Democrats ahead of the midterms
FTX, the prominent cryptocurrency exchange, announced Nov. 11 that it had filed for bankruptcy and its CEO and founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, had resigned. The firm reported it was short billions of dollars after experiencing the cryptocurrency equivalent of a bank run, the Associated Press reported.
The situation has led some social media users to claim the cryptocurrency exchange was laundering U.S. aid sent to Ukraine and passing it along to Democrats to help with the midterm elections.
“The election should be called off immediately,” reads a screenshot from Truth Social in a Nov. 14 Instagram post. “It was just PROVEN the World Economic Forum partner FTX laundered money for the democrats by means of a War Fund through their exchange and then converted it to cash and sent it back as donations.”
The post was liked more than 800 times in three days, while similar posts accumulated hundreds of additional likes. A version of the claim appeared on the website of the Hal Turner Radio Show, which promotes conspiracy theories.
But the claim is false – no such thing has been proven because it never happened.
Ukraine partnered with FTX when it launched a website allowing people to donate cryptocurrency to support the country, but multiple people involved have rejected the money-laundering claim, including one Ukrainian official who called it “nonsense.” They said the exchange’s only role in Ukrain aid was to convert cryptocurrency to traditional currency on a few occasions, and no Ukraine funds were stored with FTX.
All official U.S. aid sent to Ukraine has to go through official channels and wouldn’t be associated with a cryptocurrency firm like FTX, a foreign policy expert told USA TODAY.
The social media user who shared the post could not be reached for comment.
Follow us on Facebook! Like our page to get updates throughout the day on our latest debunks
Ukraine partnered with FTX on crypto donation site
Chris Meserole, a foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution, told USA TODAY that all official U.S. aid money for Ukraine goes through formal channels and “would never touch FTX or its subsidiaries.”
While it’s possible some individuals in the U.S. used FTX to send cryptocurrency to aid Ukraine, “there’s no evidence that FTX deliberately laundered those donations to Democrats ahead of the midterms,” Meserole said.
Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, announced the site in a March 14 tweet, describing it as a “beautiful joint initiative” involving Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation, FTX and Everstake, a blockchain staking platform. FTX and Everstake are private companies and were not involved with government aid.
In a series of recent tweets, Everstake and its CEO, Sergey Vasylchuk, refuted the money-laundering claim, saying it “doesn’t correspond with reality” and noting Aid for Ukraine only used FTX “a few times” in March to convert cryptocurrency donations to traditional currency.
Alex Bornyakov, Ukraine’s deputy minister of digital transformation, tweeted a similar comment, saying Aid for Ukraine used FTX in March to convert cryptocurrency donations to traditional currency. He also pointed out that Ukraine’s government never invested any money with FTX.
“The whole narrative that Ukraine allegedly invested in FTX, who donated money to Democrats is nonsense, frankly,” Bornyakov said.
Michael Chobanian, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange KUNA, which was also involved with Aid for Ukraine, tweeted that the site “used FTX in the first month of the war as an off ramp” to convert cryptocurrency to traditional currency.
“No crypto was stored on the FTX,” Chobanian said.
Bankman-Fried largely donated to Democrats, but sent money to Republican candidates too
Bankman-Fried said in a Nov. 5 tweet he was a “significant donor” in both the Democratic and Republican primary elections, and that he supported “constructive candidates across the aisle to prevent pandemics and bring a bipartisan climate to DC.”
He spent about $37 million in the last election cycle, mostly in support of Democratic candidates and causes, Axios reported. His biggest donation was $27 million to Protect Our Future, a Democratic political action committee.
But Bankman-Fried also donated to the congressional and Senate campaign committees for both parties, Axios says, and he made maximum donations to many individual candidates, including at least two Republican senators.
Bankman-Fried is expected to testify at a House Financial Services Committee hearing about the collapse of FTX, according to The Washington Post.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that U.S. aid to Ukraine was laundered by cryptocurrency exchange FTX and sent to Democrats ahead of the midterms. Ukraine briefly partnered with FTX when it launched a cryptocurrency donation website, but multiple officials refuted the money-laundering claim, indicating that the exchange’s only role was to convert cryptocurrency to traditional currency on a few occasions. All official U.S. aid to Ukraine must go through formal channels and “would never touch FTX,” according to a foreign policy expert. No Ukraine aid was stored with FTX.
Our fact-check sources:
- Chris Meserole, Nov. 17, Email exchange with USA TODAY
- FTX, Nov. 11, Tweet
- Associated Press, Nov. 13, EXPLAINER: What’s happening at bankrupt crypto exchange FTX?
- USA TODAY, April 12, Fact check: U.S. general refutes rumor that Russian forces captured him in Mariupol
- USA TODAY, Nov. 18, 2021, Fact check: Misleading claim about medical diagnosis codes for unvaccinated people
- Federal Elections Commission, accessed Nov. 17, Individual contributions
- Reuters, March 1, Timeline: The events leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
- Mykhailo Fedorov, March 14, Tweet
- Coinbase, accessed Nov. 17, What is staking?
- Everstake, Nov. 15, Tweet
- Sergey Vasylchuk, Nov. 14, Tweet
- Alex Bornyakov, Nov. 14, Tweet
- Michael Chobanian, Nov. 14, Tweet
- Sam Bankman-Fried, Nov. 5, Tweet
- Axios, Nov. 15, Bankman-Fried spent millions on Dem campaigns
- The Washington Post, Nov. 16, House to probe FTX collapse as Biden administration warns of crypto risks
- Associated Press, Nov. 11, What US election results mean for the future of Ukraine aid
- The New York Times, Nov. 15, The White House requests nearly $48 billion from Congress for Ukraine and pandemic aid
- Check Your Fact, Nov. 16, Fact check: Viral post makes false claims about Ukraine and FTX
- Lead Stories, Nov. 14, Fact Check: NO Evidence That US Aid To Ukraine Was ‘Laundered’ Through Crypto Exchange FTX, Channeled To Democrats
- PolitiFact, Nov. 15, FTX helped with a cryptocurrency fundraising site, but there’s no connection to U.S. aid to Ukraine
Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.
Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
Read More: No, Ukraine aid wasn’t laundered by FTX and sent to Dems
Disclaimer:The information provided on this website does not constitute investment advice, financial advice, trading advice, or any other sort of advice and you should not treat any of the website’s content as such. NewsOfBitcoin.com does not recommend that any cryptocurrency should be bought, sold, or held by you. Do conduct your own due diligence and consult your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.